Wuhan lab leak investigation: China silent on claim top spycatcher has defected to US
China’s economic espionage discussed by Nicholas Eftimiades
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Counterintelligence chief Dong Jingwei allegedly flew from Hong Kong to the US in February with his daughter. Mr Dong was made a vice-minister of state security – responsible for counterintelligence – three years ago and undoubtedly knows many of Xi Jinping’s darkest secrets including the real origins behind the Covid-19 virus. BBC journalist John Simpson today tweeted: “There are rumours in Washington and London, nothing more substantial yet, that one of China’s top intelligence figures, Dong Jingwei, has defected to the US.
“If it turns out to be true, we could soon find out whether coronavirus really started in the Wuhan lab.
“And much, much more.”
It was first reported by SpyTalk that he had defected – and comes just weeks after the US publicly said that the virus could have escaped from a laboratory.
The claim of the defection was announced by Dr Han Lianchao, a pro-democracy activist based in the US, who was once a former Chinese foreign ministry official.
Dr Han claimed the situation was discussed when Chinese and US officials met in Alaska in May.
Now, Nicholas Eftimiades, a former CIA and Pentagon expert on China, speaking to SpyTalk newsletter said that Dr Han was “trusted for his integrity”
Mr Eftimiades said claims of defections “happen all the time” and are not necessarily correct.
But if true, Mr Dong would be the most high profile Chinese official to ever defect.
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His departure would also be highly embarrassing, coming just weeks before the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its centenary on July 1.
And as well as defecting, he could have crucial evidence which settles the debate over Covid’s origins once and for all.
Mr Jingwei, China’s vice minister of state security, was reported to have flown from Hong Kong to the US.
However, there was no mention of the rumour of Mr Jingwei’s defection in Chinese media.
Neither China nor the US has confirmed the rumour.
The South China Morning Post yesterday issued a story claiming that China’s top spy-catcher, Mr Jingwei, has even been urging Beijing to step up efforts to hunt-down “anti-China” forces within the country.
The Chinese social media account of the Central Political Legal Affairs Commission has claimed that Mr Dong had recently warned spies to watch out for “insiders” who collude with “anti-China” forces.
He was also quoted in social media as warning against “people who bankroll their activities behind the scene”.
In May, US president Joe Biden ordered the US intelligence community to deliver in 90 days a report on whether there was a pathogen leak n Wuhan.
Mr Biden said US officials had already “coalesced around two likely scenarios”.
One scenario was that it was transferred from animals to humans, with the other being that a laboratory accident happened at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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